Peugeot iOn: lion… sighing.

Part one: iOn, lion… sighing.

When the call came to tell us our Peugeot iOn had arrived for our two-week test, the news was greeted with optimism and excitement. It's the first electric car we've had all to ourselves - no engineers peering over our shoulders telling us what (not) to do, and no PR people around to dispel ‘electric motoring isn't ready yet' myths.

It was such a boon in fact that four of us immediately grabbed the keys and left on a voyage of discovery.

Twisting the key initiates a series of chimes as the car first warns you about seatbelts, then signals that the car is ‘on' and ready to drive. The driver clicks the gear lever into the ‘drive' position and tentatively drives off. Instant electrically-induced pulling power is quite a novelty, and as the writer was experiencing all this from the back seat, so is the amount of headroom for such a little car.

As we floated eerily out of the office car park - getting some rather odd looks from some burly blokes testing a batch of the very latest fire-breathing superbikes - we headed out onto the open road.

We didn't go far, just nipping up the road and back to get an idea of what to expect. There was a surprising amount of body-roll, and the handling felt woolly and un-involving. Still, this is a city car with no racing aspirations. It was never going to handle like an F1 car.

After getting back to the office the real work began. First, the iOn went for photos with our resident snapper, Percy. He travelled around 50 miles in total to his destination and back again.

When Percy got back to the office he handed the keys to me as I'd drawn the straw of minimal length and was told I was first to take it home for an evening. He reported that I had four ‘bars' of battery left at my disposal out of a total of sixteen. My initial reaction was along the lines of ‘nice, a quarter of a tank'.

Half past five arrived and I pulled out of the office into scorching sunshine, and straight into a massive traffic jam. Knowing that the iOn's range depletes significantly when you use air con, I kept that off and cracked open a window. Pulling up outside my place fifteen minutes later I still had three bars left, so was pretty positive about making back to work again in the morning.

Current mileage: 680